Tourism’s Positive Impact
Slowly but surely the world is reopening its borders to international travelers with Europe implementing new entry protocols in stages over the summer months. We are all looking forward to the day when we can travel wherever and whenever we want to again, whether it’s a trip we plan far in advance or a spur of the moment getaway.
Over the past 14 months we have had a lot of time to reflect on the state of travel and its impact on not only the global economy, but the livelihoods of local communities around the world. So many domestic and international destinations depend heavily on tourism and have struggled to survive the lack of travel during the pandemic shutdown. Travelers may not realize how much they contribute to local economies and even to conservation efforts in some parts of the world. Responsible tourism has grown significantly over the years as travelers increasingly recognize that their actions and activities can have either a negative or positive impact on the destinations they visit.
In Africa for example, tourism dollars help fund numerous wildlife and environmental protection, conservation and restoration programs. Land and wildlife, once the target of hunters and poachers, are now dedicated to conservation safari camps giving elephants, lions, rhinos, gorillas and other wildlife a greater chance of survival. Revenue generated by park entrance fees, permits and other sources is used to run these programs and the reduction in travel to Africa this past year is threatening the ability to sustain these critical efforts. When you book a safari trip you not only get to experience the thrill of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat, but you are also helping these incredible animals, their protectors and local communities thrive. We are happy to discuss the numerous safari options available for the remainder of 2021 and 2022.
This month’s newsletter highlights gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda, one of the most awe-inspiring journeys you will ever experience. We ourselves are going on a gorilla trekking expedition later this year and can’t wait to share our adventures with you!
All the best,
Karen & Wahid
Gorilla Trekking: Rwanda & Uganda
Gorilla trekking can be described as one of the most humbling wildlife experiences known to mankind. While on this once-in-a-lifetime journey, imagine observing these magnificent, endangered animals in their natural habitat…up close and personal. What an unforgettable adventure! Find yourself face-to-face with these beautiful creatures on a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda or Uganda, led by our top tour operators. A gorilla trekking journey will take your breath away.
Begin your day early, hiking through dense rainforests while soaking in the nature that surrounds you. Take in the open canopy forests, hear the communication patterns that vary between barks, screeches, and chest-beating, and feel the magic in the air as you are immersed in a habitat so vastly different from our own. The time spent with these fascinating mammals is unparalleled. Photograph gorilla families as they go about their daily business and experience the thrill of them watching you back. No other wildlife encounter can compare to the awe-inspiring trek to see the mountain gorillas in Africa.
Stunning wildlife, verdant scenery, a wealth of hikes, and captivating cultures are just a few more reasons to visit the region of Central/Eastern Africa. Before or after your trek, consider a hike to the top of Mount Visoke’s summit, pay homage to Dian Fossey’s grave, and be entranced by Lake Ngezi. Enjoy cultural trails in Uganda, such as the Buniga Forest Walk or The Batwa Trail. If you want to be fully-immersed in an authentic African experience, E. Clarke Travel will curate the ultimate gorilla trekking adventure!
The Conservation Movement
With fewer than 900 mountain gorillas left on the planet, witnessing the few reachable gorilla families is an awe-inspiring privilege. Limited tracking permits are issued each day so that the encounters are intimate and peaceful. E. Clarke Travel and our highly regarded tour providers: Micato Safaris, Abercrombie & Kent, Tauck, and African Travel, can arrange your visit, acquire your permit, and create an enchanting and thrilling forest expedition with exceptional amenities.
By purchasing a gorilla permit, every visitor contributes to the research and conservation mission of protecting these endangered mountain gorillas. The funds generated through this unique wildlife opportunity help manage the national parks, aid in community development, improve natural resource management, and provide the local people with a direct link to tourism and conservation of their land and animals. By adhering to an intricate set of strict standards, tourists are ensured of a rewarding experience while simultaneously protecting the gorillas. Through partnerships with communities and private operators, conservation groups can protect these apes on the ground with ranger-based monitoring, anti-poaching activities, transboundary collaboration, habitat conservation, and tourism development.
With the combined expertise of E. Clarke Travel and our gorilla trekking partners, we provide answers to all of your essential questions. Where should I go? When should I travel? What is the best way to get from one country to the other? What are the ideal accommodations? What do I need to do before and during my trip? With the utmost attention to detail, we deliver a smooth planning process and an incomparable gorilla trekking experience. Call us today to coordinate your trip of a lifetime!
Micato Safaris provides the opportunity to meet some of our closest animal relatives in their natural environment. With a four-day journey, The Rwanda Luxury Safari has you start and end in Kigali, Rwanda. Tour this charming capital and then venture to the Virunga Volcanoes. You will have the chance to visit two different gorilla families on two of your travel days in the Jurassic emerald world of the Parc National des Volcans. Return to Kigali to head back home or choose to incorporate this journey on one of Micato Safaris’ 10 land tours for an extended African adventure.
Abercrombie & Kent
Abercrombie & Kent has you covered with an unforgettable luxury African safari experience. Choose from three different tours in Uganda ranging from 5 and 9 days to 11 days with tailor-made travel arrangements. While deep in the heart of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Kibale Forest National Park, you will be closer than you’ve ever thought possible to several gorilla families.
For a Rwandan experience, Abercrombie & Kent offers 8, 9, and 24-day tours with land and private jet options. Hike through the lush Parc National de Volcans, visit the bustling local markets, and revel in the opportunity to spot the endangered golden monkey.
Tauck’s two land tours are sure to satisfy your craving for adventure! Reserve a spot on the 13-day Mountain Gorilla Safari in Rwanda, including Tanzania and Zanzibar. Traverse through the Serengeti National Park, admire the Ngorongoro Crater, photograph the Oldupai Gorge, and visit Lake Manyara National Park, to name just a few. Or perhaps the 16-day Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania tour is more your pace with the opportunity to wander through Kigali, Masai Mara National Reserve, Serengeti National Park, Amboseli National Park, and Nairobi. You set the pace!
African Travel raises the bar with living the African dream. African Travel’s 8-day Pearl of Africa tour comprises exploring the Kazinga Channel and discovering mountain gorillas. In addition, experience the magical setting of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest while enjoying the animated chimpanzees as they forage and traverse the forest.
There are three different tours in Rwanda. The first is a 5-day Rwanda in the Mist tour where you retrace the footsteps of Dian Fossey, the acclaimed American primatologist and conservationist known for her efforts to study and protect gorillas. The second, an 11-day Discover Rwanda tour, takes you to the land of a thousand hills. Trek to see wild chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park and the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Finally, the 13-day Ultimate Tanzania and Rwanda is a safari masterpiece. Stay at intimate properties, trek to pristine locations, and photograph wildlife in a way you never thought possible.
Alexander + Roberts
Alexander + Roberts has five different tour options for trekking with gorillas. One tour option is a 7-day journey in Uganda to venture into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kibale Forest, and Queen Elizabeth National Park for incredible animal encounters coupled with stays in deluxe hotels and safari lodges.
The other four tours bring you to Rwanda. A 4- or 11-day trek is available, allowing you to meet primates in their own habitat while seeing all of Rwanda’s hidden gems. If you are interested in exploring more of Africa, consider the 10- or 13-day tours that take you to Tanzania. Discover Tarangire, observe the Great Migration, take a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti, and unwind on the beaches of Zanzibar!
The Rwandan Experience
Hop off the plane at Kigali International Airport and head to Volcanoes National Park, where roughly half of the world’s remaining gorillas live. Meet your carefully selected tour guide and settle in for this life-changing opportunity! Expert trackers lead you through bamboo-covered hills, volcanic terrain, open grassland, and dense forest canopies. Suddenly, find yourself just yards from these gentle giants.
There are twelve known gorilla families that trackers are personally familiar with at this park— each gorilla has its own name and distinct personality, making this a truly intimate adventure. During this profound natural history trek, listen to the melodious calls of wild birds, watch rare golden monkeys swinging in the trees, and pass by elusive buffalo. What you see and do at Volcanoes National Park is well worth the energy it takes to make this adventure a reality!
One&Only Gorilla’s Nest features running paths, a serene spa, and a heated swimming pool. Surrounded by eucalyptus trees and volcanic mountains, this luxury hotel and resort offers vibrant energy and adventure-rich stories. This hotel boasts an exclusive front-row seat to Volcanoes National Park, making gorilla trekking easy and convenient.
One&Only Nyungwe House is best for safari-goers who want to spend time in less-explored ecosystems. This hotel has rare proximity to one of Africa’s oldest forests, Nyungwe National Park. With nature surrounding you on all sides, the peaks and valleys accommodate all types of adventure.
Wilderness Safaris Magashi Camp has six spacious tents with views overlooking Lake Rwanyakazinga. This conservation camp has a luxurious lounge, pool, and expansive viewing deck. The Magashi Camp is committed to sustainable and authentic ecotourism in Rwanda to help preserve Rwanda’s savannah ecosystem.
The Ugandan Experience
Getting to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park requires a little more effort than The Rwandan Experience. However, it has many gems along the way to enhance this unique outing. Either take a short plane ride from the Kampala Airport or tailor your itinerary to include two stunning national parks. No matter which one you select, E. Clarke Travel explores all options to arrange the best fit for you.
Trek through Kibale National Park with your private tour guide on an inspirational journey to see the largest primate habitat on the African continent. Known as the ‘primate capital of the world,’ observe over 1500 chimpanzees roam the evergreen tropical forest. Next, head south to Queen Elizabeth National Park to spot tree-climbing lions or straddle the equator that runs directly through the park! Both national parks are day trips on their own.
Finally, enter the breathtaking green forest of Bwindi and feel the anticipation of viewing the fantastic creatures that roam this remarkable landscape. Here, experienced trackers lead you on an early morning hike into the woods and through mountain passages to come within feet of these magnificent gorillas. Witness how these gorillas live their lives, tend to their families, and be awestruck by their strength and beauty. Uganda is a wonderland for your senses.
No.5 Boutique Hotel is excellent for the bookends of your Ugandan journey. This restful haven in the bustling city of Entebbe is equipped with lush amenities and all rooms opening to the beautiful garden. The tranquil setting will make you feel right at home as you embark on your African adventure.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp respects the local ecosystem with its contemporary yet classical style aesthetics. This camp has views of the dramatic African mountains just minutes from your gorilla trekking adventure. Gorilla families often visit this camp due to its unique location for an even more personal experience! This exclusive ten-tent camp connects you with the local Batwa Pygmies and aids in local community projects.
Kyaninga Lodge’s nine cottages, nestled at the foot of The Rwenzori Mountains, provides privacy and serenity. Your private deck overlooks the extinct volcanic crater lake, where you can take a guided walk to see its majestic views up close. Tour the local villages, explore the Great Rift Valley, and prepare for a lovely retreat in one of Uganda’s areas where you are engulfed in the land that time forgot.